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Tag: ATF

Lawmakers Upset Over Rift Between Reno ATF and U.S. Attorney’s Office in Nevada

Sen. Grassley/official photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Three members of Congress are increasingly putting pressure on Attorney General Eric Holder to explain the U.S. Attorney’s  dysfunctional relationship with the Reno-based ATF office, Main Justice reports.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Nevada has refused to prosecute ATF cases in the Reno office, leaving as many as a dozen cases untouched..

“The Justice Department has yet to respond to any of Congress’ questions about what happened in Reno for more than a year,” Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said in a a statement. “It’s an abdication of responsibility on the part of the Justice Department, and if these crimes weren’t prosecuted, whether because of actions of the U.S. Attorney or the ATF, the people of Nevada should know why.”

Two Nevada lawmakers joined the call for answers.

The cause of the strained relationship remains unclear, but agents have virtually abandoned the Reno, according Main Justice.

ATF Agent Who Took Own Life Battled with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

 A little more than a month on the job, ATF agent Jeff Ryan was helping arrest a man with a history of impersonating police officers when all hell broke loose on Aug. 31, 2001, the Syracuse Post-Standard wrote in a report about the incident.

Crouched behind a car, Ryan watched L.A. Deputy Hagop Kuredjian get fatally shot in the head by the suspect, James Allen Beck, who had stockpiled weapons.

Ten years later, Ryan died from a self-inflicted gunshot to the chest.

Turns out, Ryan had been dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder from the incident and was handling complicated emotional problems since the shooting, according to a lengthy report by the Post-Standard.

The paper wrote:

Ryan, 39, suffered severe post traumatic stress disorder from that day. He spent years studying every detail of the shooting and its aftermath. He relentlessly questioned ATF on its handling of the episode, and he suspected retaliation for his persistence.

He felt paranoid. He feared ATF was tracking his every move, from his honeymoon in Fiji to a Syracuse football game.

On Sept. 19, 2011, it all became too much.

That morning he kissed his toddler son and daughter goodbye at their home in Sennett and drove to his mother’s farmland on Onondaga Hill. He texted his wife that he loved her, wrote notes to his family and drove his pickup truck to a favorite spot on the 145-acre property.

He parked his truck so it wouldn’t be visible from the road, laid a bed of hay and shot himself in the chest.

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ATF Whistleblower Vince Cefalu Vows on Fox News to Challenge His Firing


Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A veteran ATF agent and well-known whistleblower who was fired in a Denny’s parking lot this week has pledged to challenge his dismissal, Fox News reports.

Vince Cefalu, a co-founder of the website CleanUpATF.org, which is critical of the agency, said his firing was the direct result of blowing the whistle on the failed gun-smuggling operation, Fast and Furious.

First reported this week at ticklethewire.com, Cefalu was fired in Nevada near his home for “lack of candor,” according to his spokesman Patrick Crosby, a former spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta, who now has his own public relations firm.

Cefalu told Fox News that his decision to blow the whistle on Fast and Furious “was the final straw.”

 

ATF Whistleblower Vince Cefalu Fired

Vince Cefalu

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Veteran ATF agent Vince Cefalu, a whistleblower who became a particularly  controversial figure after voicing concern about the failed Operation Fast and Furious, was “unceremoniously” handed his dismissal papers on Tuesday, according his spokesman.

An ATF official met him at the Denny’s parking lot in South Lake Tahoe, Nevada, near his home, where Cefalu turned in his credentials,  said his spokesman Patrick Crosby, a former spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta, who now has his own public relations firm.

Crosby said Cefalu was fired for “lack of candor.”  He did not elaborate.

Cefalu has hired an Atlanta law firm to fight the dismissal.

Cefalu worked for more than two decades for ATF, often in an undercover capacity in major cases involving motorcycle gangs in California and the Ku Klux Klan in Georgia.

Wade Drew, a spokesman for ATF, said he could confirm that Cefalu worked for ATF for nearly 25 years and that he was no longer with the agency. But he said ATF does not comment on personnel or disciplinary matters.

In recent years, Cefalu  has been one of the more publicly vocal critics of ATF management. He claims to have gone through all the proper channels to voice his concerns about ATF management, but all to no avail.

“I have just been trying to do my job: make good cases, put away the bad guys, keep the our citizens and our agents safe,” he said in a statement after his termination. “ATF management has been bending the rules and breaking the rules. The agents want ATF to be the proud agency it once was, not a place where some managers jeopardize our citizens and our cases. The behavior of ATF management has been speaking for itself with all the transfers, reassignments, resignations. It has been a mess and an embarrassment. That’s not the ATF I have devoted my career and life to, and I do not regret trying to change it.”

Zahra S. Karinshak, an Atlanta-based attorney from Krevolin & Horst, who represents Cefalu, said in a statement:

“Vince has tremendous courage. Anyone who infiltrates the KKK and biker gangs to bring them to justice has an incredible sense of dedication. Vince has a team who will fight for him in court as aggressively as he fought violent crime on our streets.”

ATF had tried firing Cefalu last year. However, he appealed the termination. It  became final on Tuesday.

 

Feds Aren’t Tracking Data on Frequency of Informants Breaking Law for Government

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

ATF and the DEA don’t track how often informants are given authority to commit a crime, the USA Today reports.

While the Justice Department imposes stringent limits on when and how informants for various federal agencies are allowed to break the law on the government’s behalf, an open-records request reveals that neither the ATF nor the DEA stockpile information on such cases, according to USA Today.

The issue came to light in the midst of the bungled “Fast and Furious” gun-trafficking operation that allowed 2,000 weapons to reach the hands of suspected cartels.

“The way we use confidential informants is a huge aspect of the daily operation and also the legitimacy of the criminal justice system,” said Alexandra Natapoff, a professor at Loyola Law School Los Angeles. “It’s insane that even the law enforcement agencies that actually carry out this policy may not always know how their operatives are doing it.”

Unusual Rift Between ATF, Justice Department Draws FBI, DEA to Help with Firearm Cases

atf file photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI and DEA have stepped in to help investigate weapons cases after federal prosecutors in Nevada stopped working with the ATF, the Reno Gazette-Journal reports.

But the newspaper said neither agency is probing firearm sales or trafficking cases, leaving the state with little protection.

Gun data obtained by the Gazette-Journal shows that fewer illegal firearms were recovered last year.

In an unusual move, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Reno said it would not prosecute ATF cases until unidentified problems are resolved.

So ATF agents left the Reno office because they couldn’t get cases prosecuted, the Gazette-Journal reported.

What the Heck is Going on With ATF and Fed Prosecutors in Reno?

U.S. Attorney Dan Bogden

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
What the heck is going on in Reno, Nevada?

The Reno-Gazette Journal reports that the U.S. Attorney there have refused for nearly the past year to take any case submitted by ATF.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said the dispute has forced the transfer of four full-time agents from the Reno, according to the paper.

The paper reported that a Sept. 29, 2011 directive from the U.S. Attorney’s Office said :”We are not accepting any cases submitted by your office.”

The paper said the assistant U.S. Attorney and the U.S. Attorney Dan Bogden did not respond for comment.

To read more click here. 

What the Heck is Going on With ATF and Fed Prosecutors in Reno?

U.S. Attorney Dan Bogden

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
What the heck is going on in Reno, Nevada?

The Reno-Gazette Journal reports that the U.S. Attorney there have refused for nearly the past year to take any case submitted by ATF.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said the dispute has forced the transfer of four full-time agents from the Reno, according to the paper.

The paper reported that a Sept. 29, 2011 directive from the U.S. Attorney’s Office said :”We are not accepting any cases submitted by your office.”

The paper said the assistant U.S. Attorney and the U.S. Attorney Dan Bogden did not respond for comment.

To read more click here. 

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